Bipartisan push in Illinois legislature would increase sentencing for repeat gun offenders
By Brian Seay
In an effort to curb gun violence in Chicago, the Illinois House on Monday approved a bill that would boost sentencing requirements for repeat gun offenders.
Backed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Senate Bill 1722 would increase the sentencing range to between seven and 14 years for individuals with previous qualifying convictions who are convicted of gun crimes.
Current Illinois law calls for a sentencing range of three to 14 years. According to the bill, if a judge chooses not to follow the new sentencing guidelines, he or she would have to explain why.
“The question is … whether (repeat offenders) are incapacitated long enough to create a breather for some neighborhoods that are just ravaged by gun violence,” said State Sen. Kwame Raoul, the Chicago Democrat who worked with Superintendent Johnson to draft and introduce the legislation. A version of the bill passed his chamber in early April.
For Johnson, the proposal is about targeting the 1,500 people on his “strategic subject list” — the offenders responsible for most of the violence.
“These (repeat gun) offenders are cycled through the criminal justice system with a severe lack of accountability for the crimes that they commit,” said Johnson before